STATEN ISLAND — A disbarred Staten Island lawyer-turned-radio host will spend up to 22 years behind bars after prosecutors said he fleeced homeowners and potential buyers out of more than $1 million while posing as an attorney.
Domenick Crispino, 53, of Tottenville, was sentenced to 11 to 22 years in prison Friday after he posed as a lawyer to swindle the owners of two Brooklyn homes out of money — even selling one to himself for $10, according to the Brooklyn District Attorney's office.
"This defendant can only be described as a financial predator, stealing as much money as he could from as many victims as he could find," acting DA Eric Gonzalez said in a statement. "Using his knowledge of the law, he repeatedly exploited the victims to enrich himself."
Crispino, who graduated from Georgetown Law school, was previously arrested for fraud in 1999 and spent six years in prison for the crime. He met Frank Gangemi while serving time, and the pair later started a radio show, "Dealin' Straight," on SiriusXM billing itself as "two ex-laywers, two ex-cons" talking about their time in jail and giving stories from their lives, according to descriptions of the show.
Between 2011 and 2015, Crispino found two owners struggling to make payments on their Brooklyn homes, stepped in and offered to help them sell the properties, prosecutors said.
In the first incident, a 95-year-old woman — who knew Crispino through her late son — couldn't afford the mortgage payments on her Bath Beach home and had a close friend help with some of the money.
Crispino convinced the friend to assume ownership of the home and send all the money he would spend on it to a corporation Crispino created while he tried to sell the home, prosecutors said.
Instead, Crispino never paid the mortgage, cleaned out the account for himself and pocketed a $86,800 down payment on the home, authorities said. When the woman died, Crispino gave the friend a forged escrow agreement with Merrill Lynch, which had actually started to foreclose on the house.
In the second case, Crispino got involved with a Gravesend home in foreclosure and forged a deed with the Department of Finance giving ownership of the house, worth nearly $385,000, to his corporation for only $10 in 2011, prosecutors said.
The next year, he pocketed a $47,500 down payment from a couple who wanted to buy the house. Then, in 2014, Crispino filed a fake document with the City Register claiming the mortgage was paid before selling the house to a different couple for $252,461.
Crispino was indicted on 21 counts, including grand larceny and practicing law without a license, in Brooklyn Federal Court in 2015 and convicted on the charges on March 31, 2017, following a trial.